The Note: You Can't Always Get What You Want



Questions we're pondering today:

1. After the tough headlines for President Bush in the sneak peek at the new ABC News/Washington Post poll this morning on "Good Morning America," what are the real surprises in store when the full survey's released later today?

--The poll shows 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Bush is doing overall, reports ABC News' Polling director Gary Langer -- the most in more than 75 ABC/Post polls since his presidency began. His approval rating is 48 percent.

--Bush's Iraq approval ratings haven't fared much better: 41 percent said they approve of the job the President is doing in Iraq, while 58 percent disapprove -- matching his career-high Iraq disapproval mark.

--Finally, 58 percent of Americans look at President Bush's second-term agenda and say he is not focused on the things that are important to them.

2. How much will the less-than-over-the-top support from President Bush for Prime Minister Tony Blair's aid for Africa plan affect not only their relationship, but the all-out lobbying effort for the aid package idea at next month's G-8 summit? LINK

3. What would it have been like to be a fly on the wall during the conversation between Karl Rove and Mark McKinnon before today's Dallas Morning News story that McKinnon has signed on to help Sen. John McCain in 2008? LINK

4. Did the Swift Boat Veterans who demanded Sen. Kerry sign the Form 180 get what they wanted, given that his military records are pretty much what was released during the campaign? Or does it just give them a little mileage out of the average-student thing? And will Kerry push back in "now show us yours" way?

5. How big a genius is Alan Ball, really? LINK (Rather monumental, we think.)

6. How many books will Ed Klein sell in his first week?

And will Sen. Clinton's comments yesterday help or hurt sales?

"[The person] described Republican leaders as messianic in their beliefs, willing to manipulate facts and even 'destroy' the Senate to gain political advantage, a reference to the recent fight that nearly stripped the Democratic minority of its filibuster powers to shelve judicial nominees. [This person] also took a shot at the House of Representatives, calling it 'a dictatorship of the Republican leadership.'" LINK

Referring to the Congressional leadership, [this person] said, "Some honestly believe they are motivated by the truth, they are motivated by a higher calling, they are motivated by, I guess, a direct line to the heavens."

You want more?

"It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

Hope you got a good night's sleep, because there's a lot going on today.

President Bush digs deep into foreign policy today, welcoming British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the White House for a meeting that's quite high stakes for our friends across the pond. Bush and Blair meet in the Oval Office at 3:25 pm ET (stills at the top). At 4:45 pm ET, the duo hold a joint media availability in the East Room, and later meet for a working dinner. Blair returns to London after dinner.

On the Hill:

The Senate convenes at 9:45 am ET, and at noon will hold a cloture vote on the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to be United States Circuit Judge for the D.C. Circuit. If cloture is invoked and debate ends, a final Roll Call vote will be held. The Senate is also expected to hold a cloture vote on the nomination of William Pryor to be a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Senate Republicans and Democrats hold their respective party lunches, complete with stakeouts, at 12:30 pm ET.

After Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist delivers remarks at a task force on HIV/AIDS at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at 8:30 am ET, he holds a dugout just off the Senate floor at 9:30 am ET.

Sens. Joe Biden (D-DE) Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) hold a news conference at 3:30 pm ET to ask moderate Republicans to vote against Judge Brown.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns testifies at the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement at 9:30 am ET.

At 8:00 am, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) delivered a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Policy Insiders breakfast about key legislation pending before the committee and Congress including economic policy, international trade, Social Security and health care policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Sam Johnson (R-TX); and former Reps. Tim Penny (D-MN), Charlie Stenholm (D-TX), and Jim Slattery (D-KS) talk to college students about bipartisan cooperation on Social Security at the Capitol at 10:00 am ET. Penny and Stenholm talked Social Security on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) holds his pen-and-pad briefing at 11:30 am ET.

The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing at 10:00 am ET to talk about the lessons that the United Airlines pension collapse holds for preventing new pension problems in the future. The CEOs of United, Northwest, and Delta Airlines are among those testifying, along with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Also at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Foreign relations Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Zalmay Khalilzad to be ambassador to Iraq.

At 2:30 pm ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration, border security, and citizenship examines security along the U.S.' Southern border.

The House meets at 2:00 pm ET.

At 2:00 pm ET, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) join Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Judith DeSarno, president and CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association for a briefing on a new bill prohibiting pharmacists from refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control.

Speaking of birth control, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is pulling out the stops for a photo op tailor-made for the new 90-minute "Inside Politics": the group will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the court decision legalizing birth control in the U.S., Griswold v. Connecticut, with an event on Massachusetts Avenue outside Union Station featuring a giant birth control pill and pill pack (folks will be dressed in the big costumes and will hand out cupcakes to commemorate the anniversary).

Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) and DC Mayor Anthony Williams addressed the National Business Women's Conference at 9:00 am ET. Warner then heads to Iowa to co-host a program for Iowa public television on overhauling American high schools.

The Associated Builders and Contractors play host to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) at 9:00 am ET; Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at 9:45 am ET; and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) at 10:00 am ET at the first day of the group's 2005 legislative conference in Washington, DC.

Brand-new World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz holds a news conference at 1:00 pm ET to talk about his upcoming trip to several African countries.

It's the first of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's two-day visit to New Hampshire. He hit the Politics and Eggs breakfast in Bedford at 8:00 am ET, followed by a 9:00 am ET media availability, a press conference at 11:45 am ET in Manchester, and a stop at noon ET at the Latino summit on business and economic development at Southern New Hampshire University.

Polls open at 6:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET today in the New Jersey gubernatorial primary. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) to easily beat his nominal competition in the Democratic primary for governor, and the premiere race of the day is on the GOP side.

2001 GOP gubernatorial candidate Brett Schundler and 2002 GOP Senate candidate Doug Forrester are locked in a tight race for the nomination and the honor to face Corzine and his millions of dollars in November's general election.

Forrester has been willing to dip into his personal bank account blanketing the airwaves with television ads in the last several weeks. Schundler is widely seen as the candidate of choice for the conservative grassroots movement in the state.

After Jim McGreevey's dramatic resignation from office and all of the corruption allegations surrounding his administration, each candidate has tried to position himself as the "reform" candidate. (We'd expect that to be a pretty popular theme in the general election as well.) And, as is often the case in the Garden State, property tax reform has been at the top of each candidate's issue agenda.

A relatively light turnout is expected. Forrester is scheduled to vote in the primary election at the West Windsor Senior Center in West Windsor, NJ at about 9:00 am ET. Schundler and his wife voted this morning at the public library in Jersey City, NJ, and Sen. Jon Corzine voted at 7:00 am ET at Engine Company One in Hoboken.

You can find results on the New Jersey Division of Elections Web site: LINK

Bush agenda:

The Washington Post's Peter Baker Notes that President Bush will announce today a $674 million humanitarian relief package for Africa at his joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- a bit of a letdown to Blair, who has been pushing for more aid and debt forgiveness for Africa in what's been called a modern-day Marshall Plan before he hosts the G-8 summit in Scotland next month. LINK

"Blair may settle for an agreement from Bush on debt forgiveness for impoverished African nations," write Bloomberg's Roberts and Landberg.

(The Note's rhetorical question of the day: Wasn't the whole "payback" motif used up when Prime Minister Blair came here to discuss Middle East peace and a viable Palestinian state?)

"A Senate panel today begins debate on President Bush's new ambassador to Iraq, after more than 11 weeks without an envoy to Baghdad, " writes the Wall Street Journal's Yoichi Dreazen.

"The gap between the tenures of the former ambassador, John Negroponte -- now Mr. Bush's intelligence czar -- and the new one, Zalmay Khalilzad, is the longest interval with no top American diplomat in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was toppled in April 2003."

"The period has coincided with a difficult stretch for both the fragile Iraqi government and the U.S. So far, America and its allies in Iraq largely have failed to bring the country's embattled Sunni minority into the political process, a top priority for both governments."

Michael Fletcher and Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post recount President Bush's remarks to the OAS yesterday, encouraging Western hemisphere nations to support democracy by prosecuting corruption and embrace free-market economies -- as well as predicting that Cuba will ultimately become a democracy as well. LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Baker and Susan Glasser excerpt their book, "Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and the End of Revolution," published today by Scribner, and take a look at the difference between the promise of stability and democracy that Russian President Boris Yeltsin rode to power in 2000 and the reality of how he consolidated power within the Kremlin as the focus of "Project Putin," which put the former KGB chief in office after teaching him how to work the political mechanics. LINK

Judicial nomination battles:

The Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds previews the day's debate on Judge Janice Rogers Brown. LINK

Carl Hulse of the New York Times tells us what's next: "As soon as the Senate disposes of the Brown nomination, Dr. Frist intends to bring up Judge Pryor, who is now serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, under a temporary appointment by Mr. Bush. The Senate leaders have also agreed to move ahead with three other, less-contentious judicial nominations." LINK

Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times looks at the factors that have shaped Brown's opinions and legal outlook. LINK

"Justice Brown is that rare nominee for whom one can draw a direct line between intellectual advocacy of aggressive judicial behavior and actual conduct as a judge," writes the Washington Post's editorial board, which encourages the Senate to reject her nomination. LINK

Judge Priscilla Owen took her oath of office yesterday for her seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. LINK


Sen. Chris Dodd says Democrats will compromise and not block John Bolton if the White House agrees to a compromise about the NSA intercepts, reports Douglas Jehl in the New York Times. LINK


The Washington Post's Paul Blustein sizes up just how unhappy the sugar lobby is with President Bush's support of CAFTA, and what kind of influence it wields in the halls of Congress. LINK

"As the House comes into session today, CAFTA supporters, who include many business and agriculture groups and most House Republicans, kick off a monthlong sprint to bring the agreement to a floor vote before the July 4 recess. Should they fail, it would lend ammunition to an already strong opposition consisting of labor unions, the sugar industry and most House Democrats," writes The Hill's Josephine Hearn. LINK

The economy:

"Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a puzzling decline in long-term interest rates may signal economic weakness ahead, but argued that they aren't as reliable a signal of such weakness as in the past," writes the Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip.

"Since June 2004, the Fed has raised its short-term rate target to 3% from 1% and has signaled plans to raise it further, while the 10-year Treasury bond yield has fallen to less than 4% from 4.7%. That sort of decline in long-term rates "is clearly without recent precedent.'"

But don't be quick to blame a weakening economy . . .

Social Security:

Richard Wolf of USA Today tries to make sense of the who-gets-what puzzle when it comes to calculating Social Security benefits. "As President Bush and Congress wrangle over how to keep the retirement system solvent and whether to add individual investment accounts, the issue of who gets what is getting increased scrutiny. That's because 2 million retirees who paid into Social Security throughout their working lives are collecting benefits that aren't enough to keep them out of poverty, according to the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security." LINK

The Hill's Patrick O'Connor previews Jim Kolbe's (R-AZ) attempt to bring former Democratic congressmen to the Social Security negotiating table since the crop of Democrats currently serving seem pretty "dug in" their opposition. LINK

SEC nominee Christopher Cox:

The Washington Post's Carrie Johnson writes that one of the most important indicators of Rep. Christopher Cox's reign as chairman of the SEC is how he will handle the agency's enforcement division -- and whether or not he'll replace the newly minted former prosecutor, Linda Chatman Thomsen, who took over last month. LINK


The Washington Post's Chuck Lane explains the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday that federal law trumps state regulations on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and that based on Congress' ability to regulate interstate commerce, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies can prosecute those who use it. Lane Notes that Justices Scalia and Kennedy joined the majority, while Rehnquist, O'Connor, and Thomas criticized the ruling for overriding the rights of states. The Bush Administration's director of national drug control policy, John Walters, hailed the decision as the end to medical marijuana as a political issue. LINK

"The decision weakens, but does not overturn, state laws that permit seriously ill people to use marijuana to relieve pain or nausea," writes the Los Angeles Times' David Savage, who Notes that while federal agents, prosecutors and judges can seek to go after those who grow or use marijuana, it's the state and local police who usually are the ones doing the law enforcement, and they don't have to assist. LINK

Samantha Levine of the Houston Chronicle reports that Sen. John Cornyn wouldn't say no if asked to be a Supreme Court justice. His spokesperson Don Stewart said, "You can never rule out something like that, but it is not something he is looking for or something he has asked for." LINK


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has hired a second attorney, reports the Houston Chronicle. Richard Cullen, former Virginia attorney general and chief counsel to former Sen. Paul Trible (R-VA) during the Iran-Contra scandal, will work for DeLay as the House ethics committee begins to investigate his overseas travel. LINK

The politics of national security:

The Washington Post's Dan Eggen looks at the first day of hearings of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, a private nonprofit group made up of former members of the Sept. 11 commission, in which former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick accused the FBI of abject failure in its attempts to remake itself in the post-9/11 climate. LINK

USA Today's John Diamond leads with the criticisms of the U.S. government's attempts to reorganize its intelligence efforts leveled by John Gannon, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council and former head of CIA intelligence analysis. LINK

Guantanamo Bay:

Floyd Abrams, Bob Barr, and Thomas Pickering argue on the Washington Post's op-ed page that there needs to be an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate allegations of abuse of terror suspects, modeled on the 9/11 commission. LINK

Dick Morris uses his New York Post column to urge the Bush Administration to stop "resting on [its] laurels" and get ahead of the Gitmo story by appointing a commission to investigate alleged abuses. LINK


AP previews today's Hill hearings on pension funding, focused largely on the airline industry. LINK

Roll Call's Mary Ann Akers reports that Clear Channel lobbyists Jessica Marventano and Robert Fisher are throwing a Clear Channel PAC-hosted "it's getting chilly in Hell" fundraiser for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid at Charlie Palmer Steak on June 13.

Dean's Democrats:

The Hill's Bolton follows up on our reporting here yesterday with this lead: LINK

"Three top fundraisers at the Democratic National Committee have resigned at a time when its chairman, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, has come under fire from fellow Democrats for controversial comments and his Republican counterpart has raised more than twice as much money."

"Democratic sources link the resignations to Dean's decision to focus on raising money in small increments through the Internet, as he did during his 2004 presidential bid, and building up the party's grassroots infrastructure while paying little attention to major Democratic donors."

"But other Democrats say the first several months after a party's losing presidential campaign are naturally a time of transition and it will take time for committee officials to get their 'sea legs.' Dean's defenders also note that DNC fundraising is ahead of where it was at this point after the last presidential election, when Democrats could still raise unlimited amounts of soft money."

Former Sen. John Edwards blogs his response to press coverage of his public criticism of DNC chairman Howard Dean:

"Howard and I have been saying the same thing about this for years. Hear that? The same thing. For years. Have I ever put it some way that Howard wouldn't agree with? Probably. And he put it in a way, once, just the other day, that I cant agree with, since I come from a place where hard-working people, who are better served by the agenda and passion of the Democrats, somehow still vote Republican. But Howard and I are committed to a 50-state strategy that will reach out to those voters, in North Carolina, and in Kansas, and in Tennessee, across this country and tell the truth about what is happening in this country to their jobs, to their health care, to their forests and streams, to their vision of what this country is and should be."

We catch your drift, Senator. LINK

After his meeting with Ken Mehlman, Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons dishes with Lloyd Grove about his thoughts on Howard Dean. LINK

House of Labor:

The presidential re-election campaign of AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney got a major boost yesterday when an on-again, off-again ally, Harold Schaitberger of the International Association of Firefighters, endorsed Mr. Sweeney, writing in a letter suggesting Sweeney had begun to embrace the beginnings of bipartisan legislative and political outreach.

From a press release: "The IAFF has been and will continue to carefully weigh the issues in this reform discussion. However, the person to lead that discussion remains clear. Following several meetings with President Sweeney and his embrace of key issues that the IAFF believes must be at the core of the reform, the IAFF's Executive Board unanimously voted to endorse John Sweeney for re-election as president of the AFL-CIO."

"While the AFL-CIO will continue to support and maintain relationships with those Democrats who have historically and continuously supported the goals of our movement, it will also build bridges over party lines to Republicans who can be with us on selected issues."

Josh Gerstein, writing the story for the New York Sun, seems incredulous. LINK

Incidentally -- as Gerstein Notes in his story -- the SEIU's executive board meets in San Francisco today to begin to formally consider whether to give President Andrew Stern permission to withdraw from the AFL-CIO.

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz is skeptical, based on the Vanity Fair excerpt, that Edward Klein's coming book on Hillary Clinton will necessarily do much damage to her image or her potential candidacy for the White House. LINK

"The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his wife despised a 'duplicitous' and ruthless Hillary Rodham Clinton, who they believed would do anything to advance herself, according to a bombshell new book," writes the New York Post's Ian Bishop. LINK

Philippe's response: "'Sen. Clinton will always be proud to have had the support of Sen. Moynihan, and wishes she still had his wisdom and counsel,' said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines."

"'Beyond that, we don't comment on works of fiction, let alone a book full of blatant fabrications.'"

Sen. Moynihan's daughter, author Maura Moynihan, tells ABC News that she was in the room (unlike Ed Klein, she says) with her parents and Hillary Clinton during the meeting Klein describes at the Moynihan apartment.

Moynihan says the only other person in the home (and in and out of the room) was the "Tibetan cook."

Moynihan says the conversation that day was a "gracious, polite, serious, thoughtful conversation . . . an adult conversation."

"Ed Klein never identified his sources. I think I know Pat and Liz Moynihan better than Mr. Klein and the cadence and language is certainly not of her tongue," added Moynihan.

The New York Daily News has more on Sen. Clinton's "hot rhetoric" at yesterday's midtown Manhattan fundraiser. LINK

Deep Throat revealed:

ABC News' Jake Tapper writes that the son of L. Patrick Gray said "claims being made about his father are 'categorically false' and that L. Patrick Gray does not belong on the long list of Watergate criminals and miscreants from the Nixon White House." LINK

"ABC News was not able to find any references to Gray throwing documents into a river in the committee's final report or anywhere else as Lenzner, Bradlee and Bernstein claimed. Ed Gray acknowledged that his father destroyed 'Watergate-related evidence' -- since 'anything in Howard Hunt's safe' at the White House would fit that definition -- but insists his father did not destroy investigative files from the FBI or anywhere else, as Lenzner claimed. And as Patrick Gray has acknowledged publicly, his method of destroying potential evidence was burning, not drowning."

"Gray's son argued that the files his father destroyed were not legally relevant to any of the Watergate crimes and notes that his father was never indicted or convicted of any criminal wrongdoing in the Watergate investigation."

Read the whole thing.

The Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten interprets the Bush Administration's reaction to the Felt revelation. LINK

2008: Republicans:

"Mark McKinnon, the Austin political consultant who oversaw the advertising for President Bush in the 2000 and 2004 campaigns, has committed to help Sen. John McCain in a second presidential bid."

"Mr. McKinnon -- one of the president's closest friends and confidants and a frequent mountain biking companion – met with the Arizona Republican over lunch this spring in the Senate dining room to discuss his support, said a GOP activist familiar with the meeting," writes G. Robert Hillman of the Dallas Morning News. LINK

Both McKinnon and John Weaver make the appropriate remarks saying they aren't focused on a 2008 presidential bid right now.

McKinnon is also careful to include a Jeb Bush/Condoleezza Rice caveat where he would "review his options" if either one of them decided to jump into the race.

Today's installment (the first of four) of Fred Siegel's new book on Rudy Giuliani appears in the New York Post today and focuses on the crime busting, squeegee guy removing, bureaucracy bashing new mayor who believed the ungovernable city was quite governable. LINK

The New York Times' John Tierney praises Jeb Bush's Florida voucher program. LINK

Roll Call's Ben Pershing reports that Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) is making the rounds to Iowa and New Hampshire this summer.

2008: Democrats:

David Lerman of the Hampton Roads (VA) Daily Press writes that Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA), despite playing coy on his 2008 aspirations, heads to Iowa today to talk to students, parents, and teachers about revamping America's high schools in a forum for Des Moines public television. Warner steps down from his post as the chairman of the National Governors Association in July (when the summer meeting, coincidentally, is in Iowa), Lerman Notes. LINK


In analyzing the refusal of Sheldon Silver to capitulate to a West Side stadium, the New York Times' Charles Bagli and Michael Cooper write, "In his pursuit of the stadium, the mayor failed to reckon with the power of the little-known state board, which is controlled by Albany's three leaders -- Mr. Silver, Mr. Bruno and Gov. George E. Pataki. Without a unanimous decision from the board, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could not transfer the land, and the state could not contribute its half of the $600 million public subsidy. Because Mr. Silver and Mr. Bruno each ordered their representatives on the board to abstain -- the equivalent of a no vote -- the project cannot go ahead." LINK

"Mr. Bloomberg could not overcome Mr. Silver's determination to fight for his downtown district, which has never recovered the economic vitality it held before the terrorist attacks. Aides to the mayor, saying they were baffled by Mr. Silver's vote, said they had offered him any number of incentives to keep businesses downtown, including commercial rent tax exemptions and penalties for moving from downtown to the West Side."

David Seifman's New York Post political analysis of the mayor's failed attempt to secure a West Side stadium leads thusly: LINK

"As humiliating defeats go in politics, it would be hard to find one to top the ignominious end to Mayor Bloomberg's West Side stadium dream."

"The mayor spent much of his political capital over the last three years promoting development of the far West Side -- only to see it all go up in flames yesterday at the hands of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, his ostensible friend in government."

Seifman includes this to-be-sure graph:

"Yet it's by no means clear that Bloomberg will be hurt politically in the long run. Most opposition to the stadium was centered in Manhattan, the mayor's base. And voters who were going to bolt from him because of the stadium now no longer have that as an issue."

The New York Daily News analysis by Dave Saltonstall offers up several political silver linings for the mayor in this no doubt painful public defeat. LINK

The New York Post editorial page believes there is enough blame to go around to all the key stadium players. LINK

The two big questions remaining:

1. What next for Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff?

2. Can someone please explain the Janel Maloney/Megan Sheekey connection? LINK

The New York Post's Campanile Notes Freddy Ferrer's huge Baldick and Doak hires as well as the former borough president's latest poll position. LINK

(Note to Mr. Campanile: John Edwards spent much of 2003 and the early party of 2004 telling voters and reporters that he was running for president, not vice president. We took him at his word.)

The New York Daily News gets Nick Baldick's first quote as campaign manager for Ferrer '05. LINK

"'I'm not a big fan of polls but I think he's had a good couple of weeks,' said Baldick. 'A lot of politics is about momentum and he's got it.'"

Roll Call's Lauren Whittington sizes up the final days of the special election to succeed Rep. Rob Portman in Ohio's 2nd district, where an 11-candidate field has basically come down to a Republican fight between Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine, son of Sen. Mike DeWine, and former Rep. Mike McEwen.

Sen. John Kerry:

The grades are in and John Kerry's Yale transcripts have finally been released, and his marks are similar to those of President Bush in his Yale days, the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish reports. Both men practically have the same GPA. "I always told my Dad that D stood for distinction," Kerry said in a written statement regarding the transcript. Kerry went on to become a top student at Naval Candidate School. LINK

In addition to academic records, Sen. John Kerry authorized the release of his military and medical records. The records of Kerry's service in the Navy Personnel Command are similar to those released during his 2004 campaign, but include commendations from officers who later criticized Kerry's Vietnam service. The file does not provide new information about Kerry's controversial "swift boat" combat actions in Vietnam. LINK


Roll Call's Chris Cillizza Notes the White House's special interest in the 2006 Senate races in Florida and North Dakota, with Karl Rove chatting regularly with Rep. Katherine Harris whether she plans to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D) -- but the question is whether he's discouraging her. North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven comes to Washington this week to meet with the NRSC and the White House, Cillizza reports, while throwing in a good look at the White House's past candidate recruiting efforts.

Roll Call reports that Robert Traynham has heard the siren song of Sen. Rick Santorum and is moving from his current job as communications director and deputy staff director for the Republican Conference back into the Senator's fold -- or back in the saddle, as the case may be.

The New York Daily News reports Fred Steeper and Ben Ginsburg have signed up with Ed Cox's Senate campaign. LINK

The Seattle Times' Alex Fryer Notes the star power of Vice President Cheney yesterday, whose appearance for Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) brought in an estimated $100,000. LINK

Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe looks at the campaign style of Democrat gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick who may be lacking in funds compared to his competitor state attorney general Thomas Reilly, but is ahead when it comes to rallying voters with his spirit and passion on the campaign trail. Reilly may need to worry if down the road Patrick's charisma translates into greater campaign cash flow. LINK

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina could be feeling the pressure of 2006 as the governor already has two Democratic contenders running against him, The State reports. Local mayor Frank Willis threw his hat in yesterday. In addition, Sanford may be up against his own primary challenger, Oscar Lovelace, a local doctor formed an exploratory committee last week. LINK

Washington governor's race -- settled:

In the end, it came down to "proportionate deduction," the Republicans' model for determining the number of illegal votes and adjusting the vote tallies -- and in the end, Judge Bridges didn't go along with it, declaring that Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) is the winner of the 2004 gubernatorial election. "Unless an election is clearly invalid, when the people have spoken, their verdict should not be disturbed by the courts," Bridges said. Republican Dino Rossi held a press conference later in the day, declaring that the makeup of the Washington state Supreme Court would make a challenge there impossible to win, and he would not pursue an appeal.

In his excellent wrap-up, the Seattle Times' David Postman Notes that it took Judge Bridges nearly an hour to read his decision aloud in court. LINK

Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times goes through Bridges' reasoning. LINK

"Still left unanswered, at least to political observers, is what Rossi will do next. Rossi has already begun raising money for a governor's race in 2008, but he could face mounting pressure to run for the U.S. Senate next year against Democrat Maria Cantwell, who is considered vulnerable. . . . Rossi took no questions as to his political future, but has said he is not interested in running for Cantwell's seat," write Gordy Hold and Chris McGann of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. LINK

As of this writing, ">LINK has not been purchased.


Wal-Mart Watch scored some good local ink in the Democrat-Gazette over the weekend, which said the group, funded with seed money from SEIU and run like a campaign PR operation with Andy Grossman at the helm, "has a political savvy that's new for Wal-Mart critics." And nothing -- from Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton's art purchase to water cooler conversation -- is off-limits.


Writes Robert Pear in the New York Times (who doesn't use the second word of this sentence lightly): "An authoritative new ruling by the Justice Department sharply limits the government's ability to prosecute people for criminal violations of the law that protects the privacy of medical records." LINK

"The criminal penalties, the department said, apply to insurers, doctors, hospitals and other providers -- but not necessarily their employees or outsiders who steal personal health data."

Former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran was charged yesterday for lying to a federal appeals court about his participation in a legislative redistricting plan that would set minority candidates at a disadvantage. Finneran was once dubbed "King Tom" for pushing through legislative rules that would allow him to be speaker for life. Finneran served as head of the House from 1996 to 2004. LINK

The Hill's "Under the Dome" column has all the latest from the WHCA campaign trail. LINK